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We will go again – missing travel in 2020

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

With the exception of spending time with family, the most significant loss in 2020 has to be travel.

Travel doesn’t define you, but it can influence you, inspire you and expand you.

In 2019, I made 66 flights, not a figure to be proud of if you're counting your carbon footprint, not a figure that will ever be repeated thanks to the adoption of Teams and Google Meet. Those flights weren’t all for work, but include a couple of trips to Puglia in Southern Italy, an escape.

That year we made our fourth or fifth trip to Matera, the ancient cave town in Basilicata. Seeing it through the eyes of friends visiting for the first time. Matera is a unique place, changing fast but with a back story that is unbelievable. As late as the mid '60s up to forty thousand people lived in the cave dwellings of the ravine that shelters Matera. Cave dwellings that were housing families of six or more in two carved out rooms with no running water or electricity.

The tiny museum house open today gives an indication of the poverty and desperation of the years up to 1965. Stacked beds, a stall carved out of the living space for a donkey, or a cow, but set against photographs or proud families, dressed for Sunday church or sending their boys off to join the army. People’s resilience is truly inspiring.

These cave dwellings are gradually being carefully reclaimed and refurbed into boutique hotels and slow food restaurants, it’s good to see, but alters the mood dramatically, your understanding of the history of this place is bound to be affected by this gentrification. But it remains physically identical with careful restoration, it's clean, a little slick and controlled. See it before it’s gone. Understand the spirit of the place, the biblical, epic age of the place, that remained alive until our era, and will thrive again.

David Dalziel, November 2020.

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